Why I Hope The RIAA Succeeds

from the no,-seriously dept

This week's post in the lack of scarcity series is going to be brief, since I'm busy at the latest DEMO show (I'll be doing a post on the interesting trends later). However, I have noticed something in the comments from the series of posts I've done. Plenty of people who seem to agree with what I'm writing make sure to add in something about how they hate the RIAA or the MPAA (sometimes in... well... colorful language). There's also a running assumption that I clearly hate these organizations -- and they equally dislike me.

While I have no clue about their feelings towards me, I should clarify my feelings towards them -- which I would hope is clear from these posts. I do not hate the recording industry or the movie industry. Quite the opposite. I'm a big fan of both music and movies. The point of this series is not to slam the organizations making these moves, but to help them. I hope they succeed, because it would be a lot easier for everyone involved. However, I do believe that their current strategies of alienating their best customers, relying on government protection, and pretending this is some sort of epic battle between good and evil aren't just doomed to fail, they're actively making things worse for themselves. What I write shouldn't be viewed as hatred for these organizations, but suggestions on how they could create for themselves a much bigger and more successful market that doesn't require everyone to hate them. I'm quite confident that the market for entertainment is only going to grow to tremendous levels going forward -- and I believe these organizations have every opportunity to capture quite a bit of it (though, they've been throwing that chance away every day). It's just a matter of recognizing the long-term strategic errors of their ways.

This seems like an obvious point to me, but given some of the discussions and comments, it seemed worth reiterating.


If you're looking to catch up on the posts in the series, I've listed them out below:

Economics Of Abundance Getting Some Well Deserved Attention
The Importance Of Zero In Destroying The Scarcity Myth Of Economics
The Economics Of Abundance Is Not A Moral Issue
A Lack Of Scarcity Has (Almost) Nothing To Do With Piracy
A Lack Of Scarcity Feeds The Long Tail By Increasing The Pie
Why The Lack Of Scarcity In Economics Is Getting More Important Now
History Repeats Itself: How The RIAA Is Like 17th Century French Button-Makers
Infinity Is Your Friend In Economics Step One To Embracing A Lack Of Scarcity: Recognize What Market You're Really In

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 1 Feb 2007 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Whoa, this makes no sense at all

    Techdirt usually has some good reasoning and insightful opinions. This piece, though, makes no sense at all. Let me count the ways.


    Apologies if you feel it makes no sense, but I'm not sure I understand where you're coming from.

    First, neither the RIAA nor MPAA make movies or music. Artists, musicians, directors, writers, etc, actually make the entertainment that we enjoy. Those people see somewhere between no benefit and actual harm from the RIAA and MPAA's thuggish behaviors.

    Hmm. Yes and no. It's true that the RIAA and MPAA do not directly make content, but they do represent the industry that distributes the content and tries to manage the business model of the content. They *do* represent the industry.

    Second, there's confusion between liking the industry and liking the product. Two totally different things.

    I'm sorry if you feel that way, but I think you're missing my point. I apologize if it wasn't clear. If I like the product, shouldn't I want the industry to succeed? Not sure what's so confusing about that.

    Third, there's a total cluelessness about "what the RIAA and MPAA are trying to achieve." Sure, I support their efforts to... end world hunger! What a noble cause! But in reality, they are no more interested in stopping piracy than they are in cancer research (which is to say "somewhat", but it's not their main goal). What they RIAA and MPAA are trying to achieve is a fundamental change in the market -- from the concept of consumers owning their copy of any given content to consumers renting content each time it's used, played, transferred, transcoded, or mentioned in conversation. This is about greatly increasing revenue, not protecting the poor starving artist

    Hmm. I disagree with that. The industry isn't trying to change the market at all. They're actually trying to prevent change greatly, so they can keep milking an obsolete business model.

    I never implied that they were about protecting the poor artist. I simply said that I want the industry to succeed, and I think that having it do so through existing organizations may be the most efficient way (though, the least likely).

    Finally, there's some waffling in the "love the sinner, hate the sin" vein. Sure, the organizations are mere corporate fictions, and it's only their *actions* that are so unethical and slimy. But that's really splitting hairs, since most people form their opinions of based on behavior, not some kind of abstract, intrinsic quality. It's a fairly spineless position.

    Again, I guess I wasn't clear here. This is not a love the sinner situation. I really do believe that it's better overall if the industry doesn't have to go through a complete destruction of existing companies. Rather, if they learned to embrace the new business models, they could do much better.

    The point is that I believe that the industry is going to grow and do quite well, and I think it's better if it does so with existing companies and organizations involved.


    Get it together, Techdirt -- this half-apology piece is weakly reasoned, weakly opinioned, and in desperate need of butter and maple syrup.


    Again, apologies, but I believe you misread the piece. It wasn't an apology -- but an explanation.

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